Patterico's Pontifications


L.A. Times Will Not Correct Erroneous Claim That There Is “No Recorded Basis” for Ayers-Obama Tie

Filed under: 2008 Election,Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 11:19 pm

I recently caught the L.A. Times erroneously claiming that there was “no recorded basis” for John McCain’s claim that Barack Obama launched his political career in Bill Ayers’s living room. Regardless of whether you think the claim is a) true or b) politically significant, it’s quite clear that there is a “recorded basis” for the claim — namely, a blog post by a liberal who was there in that living room, who said:

When I first met Barack Obama, he was giving a standard, innocuous little talk in the livingroom of those two legends-in-their-own-minds, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. They were launching him–introducing him to the Hyde Park community as the best thing since sliced bread.

Although the blogger has since tried to send this evidence Down the Memory Hole, she failed quite badly on several levels, and the evidence lives on. The L.A. Times, seemingly, was caught. Democrat Mickey Kaus said:

Patterico embarrasses the L.A. Times yet again.

Well, evidently the editors aren’t capable of embarrassment. Because if the following e-mail from the paper’s “Readers’ Representative” is any indication, the editors don’t think they said anything wrong:

Thanks for your note, which we passed along to editors in the editorial department.

You sought correction on this passage:

And then, returning to Ayers, McCain alleged that Obama launched his political career in the former Weatherman’s living room, an assertion for which there is no recorded basis.

I understand that support for your request was a post in which someone described Obama’s appearance in Ayers’ house and said that he was “launching” his career.

Here’s what the editors say: News reports reconstructing Obama’s campaign that year suggest that the poster was incorrect in claiming that the coffee at Ayers’ home ‘launched’ Obama’s career. Accounts differ, but what editors find suggests that Obama held a number of informal coffees that fall, and that he had made clear his intention to run before his appearance at Ayers’ house.

As such, the comments by the poster may reflect that person’s impression – or misimpression – but they are not something on which the Times would base a correction.

Jamie Gold
Readers’ Representative

Look: this isn’t hard.

The editors said there was “no recorded basis” for McCain’s claim. There was.

Now they say that while “[a]ccounts differ,” they simply disagree with the existent “recorded basis” for the claim. Ergo, it was correct to claim that this “recorded basis” never existed.

In other words: if I disagree with you, its not just that you’re wrong. It’s that what you said never even happened.

Words mean things. You might think that newspaper editors would know that.

You might think that newspaper editors don’t want to mislead readers on the facts.

You would be wrong. They care more about their reputations than the facts. Period.

Another piece of history disappears Down the Memory Hole — aided and abetted by the Los Angeles Times.

Fun With Electoral Maps

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 10:08 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

It’s unlikely but indulge me: Plan B — How McCain could win.


Obama, the Election, and the Lord of the Rings

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 9:27 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

In a clever post, Driver at Amused Cynic sees parallels between Obama, this election, and the Lord of the Rings but she needs help casting the roles.

Meanwhile, Rachel Lucas says the lesson of the LOTRs is: No matter how bleak things seem, fight until you can’t fight anymore.


UPDATE BY PATTERICO: I wholeheartedly echo that last line. Many claim this election is over. Maybe they’re right. But it’s stupid to give up.

Everyone who believes in conservative principles must go to the polls and vote for McCain and Palin.

Everyone who sees Big Media misstating the facts must call them on it.

No matter how tirelessly they peddle falsehoods, we must fight back with the truth. If we lose, so be it — but if we hew to the truth, we will lose with honor . . . and who knows? We just might win.

I wouldn’t bet money on it. But I’ll pour my heart and soul into the possibility during these remaining days.

The AP Looks at Racism

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 9:11 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Here’s last week’s version of the AP’s monthly reminder that America has a problem with race:

“Race, an inescapable but explosive issue on which both presidential candidates have tread carefully if not tried to ignore, is increasingly popping up as it’s becoming more likely the country will elect its first black president.”

The Associated Press has a history of talking about race, specifically racism aimed at Obama. For instance, from an AP article last April about Obama’s primary race against Hillary Clinton:

RACE: The jury is still out on whether a black man can overcome America’s original sin and be elected president.

About one in five Pennsylvania voters said the race of the candidates was among the top factors in deciding how to vote, according to exit polls, and white voters who cited race supported Clinton over Obama by a 3-to-1 margin.

Results from all the primaries suggest that whites who said race was important in picking their candidate have been about twice as likely to back Clinton as Obama.

An AP-Yahoo News poll found that about 8 percent of whites would be uncomfortable voting for a black president. The actual percentage is probably higher because voters are shy about admitting a racial prejudice to pollsters.

The AP and Yahoo conducted another poll in August and September that addressed race and this article noted continuing racial issues:

“Deep-seated racial misgivings could cost Barack Obama the White House if the election is close, according to an AP-Yahoo News poll that found one-third of white Democrats harbor negative views toward blacks — many calling them “lazy,” “violent,” responsible for their own troubles.

The poll, conducted with Stanford University, suggests that the percentage of voters who may turn away from Obama because of his race could easily be larger than the final difference between the candidates in 2004 — about two and one-half percentage points.”

In early October, an AP article claimed Gov. Sarah Palin’s comments were “racially tinged” while another AP article treated Fidel Castro as an expert on America’s race relations:

Fidel Castro says a “profound racism” in the United States will stop millions from voting for Barack Obama in next month’s presidential election.

The ailing, 82-year-old former Cuban president says it is “a miracle that the Democratic candidate hasn’t suffered the same luck as (assassinated leaders) Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and others who harbored dreams of equality and justice.”

America will need racial healing after this election no matter who wins, but I bet the AP will shift gears from racism to revenues — especially now that more American newspapers are dropping its service.


Dallas County Votes on a New Hospital

Filed under: 2008 Election,Immigration — DRJ @ 4:16 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Dallas County, Texas, voters will be voting for more than a President on November 4. They will also vote on a new charity hospital to replace the overcrowded Parkland Hospital. The new hospital will cost an estimated $1.3B of which $747M will come from public funds, although the actual ballot doesn’t tell voters how much the project will cost.

As the election approaches, Texas newspapers have run stories about problems filling routine prescriptions, 19-hour waits to be seen, and at least one death that may be related to overcrowded conditions at the existing Parkland Hospital.

A November 2004 study found that the large demand on Dallas County hospitals was due to the growth of the Hispanic community (page 23 at the link). Parkland Hospital is the area’s leading provider of hospital care for uninsured patients, 20% of which were “undocumented immigrants” (page 27). Dallas is more than 400 miles from the Mexican border so, unlike border towns like El Paso, illegal immigrants who need hospital care in Dallas are probably residents in the area.

Because of economic factors as well as anticipated enhancements in border security and immigration enforcement, the November 2004 study concluded illegal immigrant patients would remain static for the next 10 years. In other words, it forecast 20% or more of Parkland Hospital patients would be illegal immigrants.

However, the trend may not be as static as the study forecasts. For example, in the first quarter of 2006, 70 percent of the women who gave birth at Parkland admitted they were illegal immigrants. The good news for Dallas County taxpayers is they don’t have to foot the entire bill. The bad news for American taxpayers is they do:

“At Parkland, birthing babies has become a moneymaking venture. In 2004, the hospital spent $70.7 million delivering 15,938 babies but ended the year with a $7.9 million surplus in obstetrics.

The positive bottom line resulted from a hefty infusion of Medicaid funds, about $34.5 million, to cover the delivery costs for the undocumented women. Dallas County taxpayers also kicked in $31.3 million, or about 40 percent of the total obstetrics costs, and the federal government paid an additional $9.5 million to make up for the hospital’s high percentage of patients on Medicaid, the state-federal insurance program for the poor.”

Parkland’s President and CEO has acknowledged that Dallas County “property taxes are sky-high because you’re paying for people who don’t have medical insurance,” and Dallas County residents seem almost certain to pay for a new hospital since there has been little opposition to the hospital bond.

If illegal immigration has had this impact on charity hospitals, just imagine what it’s done to American schools.


The Case Against Obama (Plus)

Filed under: General — Karl @ 10:22 am

[Posted by Karl]

In an unusual HotAir post, Guy Benson and Mary Katharine Ham — with contibutions from Ed Morrisssey — have compiled a link- and video-rich “closing argument” surveying Barack Obama’s “paper-thin resume, unsavory associations, and hard-left voting record,” to share with undecided or wavering family members, friends and co-workers.

I would have led with taxes and foreign policy; abortion is an important issue, but I suspect it is not a game-changer for those undecided two weeks from the election.  That, however, is a quibble over a substantial effort.  Also, the section on Obama’s lack of accomplishments has good video, but the comprehensive review of Obama’s non-record I wrote for Protein Wisdom makes for a link-rich companion piece.


L.A. Times Does Piece on Palin’s College Years — But What About Obama’s?

Filed under: 2008 Election,Blogging Matters,Crime,Dog Trainer,General,Media Bias — Patterico @ 7:09 am

There is a detailed article about Sarah Palin’s college years in this morning’s Los Angeles Times.

Does anyone remember their piece on Obama’s college years?

There’s a lot of us who would be interested to read it, if it exists. After all, there appears to be very little information out there about Obama’s time at Columbia (the second undergraduate institution he attended, and the one from which he obtained his degree). An October 2007 article in the New York Times is titled Obama’s Account of New York Years Often Differs From What Others Say and observes that Obama “barely mentions Columbia” in his memoir. The paper said:

[H]e declined repeated requests to talk about his New York years, release his Columbia transcript or identify even a single fellow student, co-worker, roommate or friend from those years.

Odd. Andrew McCarthy finds it more than odd — he finds it suspicious.

So what hard-hitting journalism has the L.A. Times done on this intriguing topic?

I spent a few minutes this morning trying to find out. I warn you that this is not a comprehensive investigation; it’s me sitting in front of my laptop for less than an hour, doing a search and writing a post about the results. If I’m missing something — and I might be — I’m counting on some staunch defender of the paper to come to its defense. I’m looking at you, Tim McGarry!

Here’s what I did: I performed a search for “Obama Columbia” in the paper’s archives for the last two years. Now, I didn’t find and read every story in that search; again, I did the search this morning quickly, before going to work. But I did scan through every headline in the 83 results, and tried to find and read the entries that looked the most promising.

Here’s the closest I could find to an investigation of Obama’s Columbia years in the L.A. Times:


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